I panicked over my first positive pregnancy test. I thought my husband and I would have been married longer, I would have had a chance at my own career, and he would have settled into a stable job he loved. We would have traveled, we would have more money, we would have been ready for this “gift” of a baby. Instead, we were twenty-one, married five months, and in classes instead of careers. As seniors in college, we hadn’t traveled or saved. We were so far from “ready” it was laughable.
At our first prenatal appointment the doctor searched for a heartbeat. He looked again and again and said I was either very early on in my pregnancy, or I was miscarrying. I would have to wait a few days, take some blood tests, and come back in a week to find out for sure.
A firm knot of dread settled in my stomach. Miscarrying? Had my fears and uncertainty somehow caused my body to reject the baby in my womb? Guilt and shame swallowed me as I waited the excruciatingly long week to find out the prognosis.
A Good Gift
“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward (Psalm 127:3).”
My initial thoughts upon learning I was pregnant were based in fear and selfishness, not in God’s Truth. I knew God’s Word said children were a heritage, a gift,but it wasn’t a gift we’d hoped for so soon. Never before had the words of Isaiah 55:9 felt more convicting: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my way, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Whether or not the timing of a child’s conception is pre-planned by his earthly parents, God forms each of His children purposely and intricately inside the mother’s womb, knitting them together perfectly as He sees fit. Psalm 139:13-16 tells us each baby is “fearfully and wonderfully” made. Each life demonstrates unique aspects of God’s character and nature as they reflect His image and bear the resemblance of His own likeness. (Genesis 1:27)
Jesus values children. When his disciples rebuked a crowd for bringing the children to Him, Jesus says, “Let the children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:13-14).” Children teach us how to approach God; curious, trusting, and with humility. Those who have faith “like a child” will be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:2-6)
Children help us to grasp a picture of our utter dependence on our Heavenly Father, not only as He meets our physical needs on Earth, but as He provides for our greatest need of reconciliation (Romans 5:10). Because we are unable to perfectly obey His loving commands, one day we will face His punishment and wrath. But because God made a way through Christ’s perfectly holy life and sacrificial death, by grace we can be justified through faith and stand wholly righteous before God for eternity (Romans 8:30). My salvation from judgment depends on my Father’s good gift of His Son, the sacrifice of Jesus, and my childlike faith.
God develops childlike faith in us through many different ways. I rarely know what I need. God, in His sovereignty knows my needs intimately. He knows which parts of my heart need sanctifying (Philippians 2:13). Because He is gracious and works all things together for the good of those who love Him, sometimes He gives gifts we don’t know to ask for. And when He does, He gives souvenirs of His sanctification: comfort and closeness in confusion, dependence in desperation, exchanging panic for peace. In a great and joyful juxtaposition, unwanted gifts are an invitation to come and die to self and live through Christ.
After a week of processing our emotions and recommitting to trust God’s goodness, we returned to the doctor. The black and white screen announced the good news - a tiny fluttering heartbeat. We were thrilled. Though we were young and unprepared, we were excited about the precious new life we knew God would provide for.
This month, that tiny flitter of hope turns ten years old. She has grown into a tall, lanky, blond haired, sparkling blue-eyed girl we know well and love greatly. The years have been precious but they haven’t been easy. Through her childish immaturity I’ve learned about my spiritual immaturity. Through her fears, I’ve seen my own and realized my reluctance to trust God’s sovereign hand. Through meeting my daughter’s needs, I’ve learned how the Father delights to provide for me.
The gift of life is more than a baby wrapped in a blanket, lasts longer than newborn snuggles, and reaches far wider than a child’s outstretched arms.
I can’t imagine not having my daughter. She has been the best gift we never planned for. God’s ways were much greater than any of my hopes for traveling, careers, padded bank accounts or years of maturity.
If the Lord has given you the gift of a new life, recognize the gift and thank Him. If you are looking, seeking, and humbly asking to see God’s goodness, He will show you the Truth of His Word; the fruit of the womb truly is a reward.
Lindsey Carlson lives in Houston, Texas with her winsome-worship-pastor-husband and their four young and busy children. She enjoys giggling with her littles, dating her husband, deep talks with sweet friends, and laughing really loud. Lindsey loves to challenge believers to define their worship as more than songs on Sunday morning. She writes on living the new song of the gospel at Worship Rejoices.